4. My first read was for an American Romanticism class in college
My prof, too, did his dissertation on Moby Dick. He waxed on about how hilarious the middle chapters were. I understood the satirical point, just didn't think it was that awesome. I read it again a few years ago as a promise to my cousin who is an English prof because she assured me I would like it more now that I am older. She was wrong.
I will freely admit it is because of the writing style of the times. Melville is clearly very gifted. I also hate Dickens. The desire to wax on and on and on about a topic just isn't for me. 3 pages to point out the irony of a whale that is evil being white which is a symbol of good seems excessive to me, as an example.